Normally I would be posting my WisCon schedule this time of May, but for multiple reasons, I'm not attending this year. (I could theoretically get a one-day pass for Sunday at the door, but there's only one panel that afternoon I'd want to attend, and I'd miss the Guest of Honor speeches anyway.) I'll miss seeing my friends and visiting the Farmer's Market Saturday morning, but I admit it is nice saving money on the hotel and not juggling convention plans along with a birthday party for my son.
When I first started attending WisCon twenty years ago, I wanted to break into professional publishing. I was super excited about meeting not just authors, but agents and editors. I participated in writing workshops and learned "money flows to the author." I participated in panels and Broad Universe readings to get my name out there. How useful are these activities to an indie author? Well, I feel improving my writing craft is a lifelong journey, but these days I work on it mostly by reading books on writing and working on different projects. It's always nice meeting other authors, and I may want to hire another editor at some point for developmental or copy editing, but I'm no longer interested in acquiring an agent (or letting one acquire me). I've never sold enough books at WisCon to justify the expenses, and there are local comic cons and literary festivals I can participate in for little or no cost.
WisCon's emphasis on intersectional feminism makes it unique, and I love the excuse to return to my favorite city in the springtime. Hopefully next year I'll be able to attend. (At least there won't be any Star Wars movies opening Memorial Day weekend.) In the meantime, I have a comic con at my local library to prepare for in September.
Do you go to conventions? If so, do you find them helpful for writers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.